Written By Claire Hernandez
Too many books and films but very little time? Why not make the ‘little’ time worth it by watching films and books about social good?
In the book, Steal Like an Artist, author Austin Kleon wrote, “You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.” I agree. We are what we consume. Everything from architecture. art, books, musicals, webinars, talks, music, poems, colors, YouTube videos, and movies that we consume makes us who we are today.
Written below are film and book recommendations from several members of the Sensereporters team that also, give a glimpse of who they are and what they do.
Sensereporters are the newest (and youngest!) content creators of Makesense under the Makesense Micro-Internship Program. Sensereporters craft stories, videos, and art about social good and building the new normal together.
Here are some books and films about social good, according to them:
As someone passionate about the environment, Samantha recommends the film: Princess Mononoke. Even before watching the film, Samantha shared that she already is passionate about nature but after watching it, she got inspired into taking more concrete actions towards caring and nurturing the environment.
“View the world with eyes unclouded by hate” is a line from Princess Mononoke that made a deep impact on her. Currently, Samantha is earnestly working towards her advocacy by being an intern for Magwai, a company that produces reef-safe sunscreen and assists in conducting sustainability webinars for her organization.
“View the world with eyes unclouded by hate.”
Pauline whose main advocacy is Education, recommends the Korean film: Shoplifters. The film prompted her to educate herself more about society. For several years, Pauline hosted fund-raising events for children living in remote areas. Although her reasons were good, she realized that she looked at things from a narrow perspective. Since then, Pauline began joining organizations that focus on providing quality education for all.
Similar to the movie, she observed that children who came from poor families have a pejorative connotation.
She stated that “Mindsets are not just a way of thinking but a way of doing things. I think that’s what holding society back. Pero the poor demands empathy from us. It’s not going to be easy in changing this narrative, but educating people yourself and other people can be the first step.”
“It’s not going to be easy in changing this narrative, but educating people yourself and other people can be the first step.”
Jim has a way of looking at things deeper than just the surface area. He recommends Star Wars: Clone Wars – not due to its cool space battles but- because of the deeper message the film is conveys: “…The cost of war and how others are affected by a flawed democracy.”
Jim enjoy movies with political themes. As a result, he recommends the movies: The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Avatar. With all these amazing films that he continues to consume, Jim will be producing video and photo content for Makesense.
“…The cost of war and how others are affected by a flawed democracy.”
As an artist that sometimes sidelines as a writer, Dana recommends these films (and a K-Drama!): Black Panther, Parasite, and Itaewon Class. Dana loves Marvel movies; oftentimes, she uses these films as reference to guide her graphic works. Her recommended films show how passionate she is about technology, with its timely discussions about representation, social divide, racism, and LGBTQIA+ rights.
Martine Joy Irog
Martine wholeheartedly recommends the book: The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Reading the book made her feel more grateful for life. Martine related the book to what is happening now, “Like for example now, during the pandemic, the book is an example of a story of the heroic act our frontliners are doing right now. It’s because of people like them we are surviving and overcoming the challenges.”
Martine believes that living her best life, being kind, and setting a good example to others is an excellent way of thanking the frontliners for their diligence. True to what she shared, Martine does volunteer work for several NGOs and organizations in her university, Ateneo De Manila University. She is a visual artist and now, has freelance graphic design jobs.
Gianina became more conscious when buying products after watching the documentary Minimalism. Plus, it made her stop supporting byproducts of fast fashion. Another recommendation from her is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, a book she recently read to educate herself on issues like sexism, poverty, and racism. After reading the book, Gianina became confident in speaking up about racism. At the same time, she gained an in-depth knowledge of inequality and sexism.
Erika recommends a film from her childhood: Pay it Forward. Watching it when she was a kid made her more compassionate and empathetic as she grew older.
She concluded through the movie that, “…even small actions can have an impact.” Currently, she’s working on her illustration portfolio and joined the Sensereporter Team as an Artist!
Isabel recommends a movie that influenced her perspective while growing up: Hairspray. She gained awareness of racial segregation and other social issues in the United States through the movie. She learned a significant thing at an early age: to treat people in a fair and equal way regardless of color or shape. Lastly, the movie taught her to, “…fight for and defend what I believe is right, since the movie portrays a white girl fighting for the rights of black people, something she strongly believes in and defends even to the point of being arrested.”
After reading it for an assignment, the book The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga influenced a lot of Dona’s works. She shared that after they had read the book, their teacher gave them a writing prompt where the main character was a victim of his condition or innately wicked due to his rank in society. The book helped her reflect on certain circumstances and made an impact on her various works such as essays, playwrights, and poems.
Grace Lou Marie Meneses
A psychology graduate, Grace recommends the film: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The movie is about mental health and abuses in psych wards, as Grace shared. She went on an excursion to a psych ward in Cebu. Grace recalled how she was disheartened by the conditions faced by the patients in the psych ward. She hopes that when we say ‘mental health’, we also include the patients on psych wards.
Also, she recommends the film Hidden Figures and the book A Thousand Splendid Suns. Grace cited her reasons, “The film empowers me to strive hard because women and minorities can do it! A Thousand Splendid Suns also urges me to help other women instead of fighting them. There’s this deep connection with the community and how we should continually fight for our rights.” Lastly, she told me that arts have a way of eliciting feelings and altering ideas. Grace is one of those people who truly embodied the quote ‘we are what we consume’, which she also stated during our conversation.
“The film empowers me to strive hard because women and minorities can do it! A Thousand Splendid Suns also urges me to help other women instead of fighting them. There’s this deep connection with the community and how we should continually fight for our rights.
A journalism graduate, Keanu recommends a film he recently watched: My Name is Khan. He picked this Bollywood movie as it presents a clear message about social good.
It is a story of a diseased man and in the course of his life, he tries to prove that he is not a terrorist while doing good things in the community. The movie gave him a realization that “…we should do things out of good cause it’s good. Kahit people disagree with you, stand your ground.”
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About the Author
Claire lives in Rizal, Philippines, and is currently a sophomore Architecture student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. She is a Manila ambassador for one of the programs of Makesense, Youth 4 Sustainable Cities. Currently, she focuses on curating content for EmpathyInDesign, a blog that curates content about things and places that empathizes with people.